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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Would 6 Movies have been better?

The Shire

Oct 24 2018, 10:01pm

Post #1 of 11 (4744 views)
Would 6 Movies have been better? Can't Post

a lot of people feel like lotr was rushed compared to the books. myself included. I had a thought that each book is split into two books. So maybe the movies should have split instead of 3 three hour movies made 6 three hour movies. Then they could've included tom bombadil, the scourging of the shire etc. What do you guys think about this idea?

Chen G.

Oct 24 2018, 10:30pm

Post #2 of 11 (4711 views)
I dunno [In reply to] Can't Post

I could see one of the films being split into two, but I don't think making it a sextet would have been preferable. Its certainly possible, though.

Tom Bombadil and the Scouring of the Shire probably wouldn't exist in a six-film cut, either. Tom Bombadil doesn't contribute to the narrative thrust of the films: in the book, he works. In a film? Not so much. Depending on how he's intergrated into the narrative, he could have also be tonally disonant with the rest of the film.

The Scouring of the Shire is thematically significant to the narrative of the book, but simply could not have worked for a film. The Return of the Kings has a lot of endings after Mount Doom, but none of them is an action climax, which is what the Scouring of the Shire would have been. Having another action climax would have been overkill, regardless of whether or not it could technically fit within a three-hour film.

(This post was edited by Chen G. on Oct 24 2018, 10:31pm)


Oct 25 2018, 7:17pm

Post #3 of 11 (4606 views)
Depends [In reply to] Can't Post

As a die hard fan, I would love any more I could get and would have loved to see each book be a film and have the story fully fleshed out without the cutting and changing of timeline, BUT it's very likely the movies overall would not have performed as well, and perhaps may not have been as good either.

I think their current length is just the right balance to satisfy those who were fans of the story before the movies, and those who were not familiar with the story at all but just wanted a good movie to see. Those who were new to Middle-earth may not have had the stamina to maintain interest for 5 more films that was generated in the first.


Oct 25 2018, 9:06pm

Post #4 of 11 (4591 views)
I donít know about better [In reply to] Can't Post

But I consider it, every so often. Jackson and his writers wrote very delicately-crafted screenplays, with carefully designed arcs for most members of the Fellowship. Iíd be eager to see that same attention and care put into six screenplays. The question is, what would that look like? How would the six movies adapting the six books be shaped and focused?

Movie I: The Return of the Shadow
Movie II: The Ring Goes South / The Fellowship of the Ring
Movie III: The Treason of Isengard
Movie IV: The Journey of the Ringbearers / The Ring Goes East
Movie V: The War of the Ring
Movie VI: The End of the Third Age

With this as a structural foundation, what choices would the same writers make to thematically hone and center the narrative?

The Shire

Oct 25 2018, 9:28pm

Post #5 of 11 (4587 views)
I like that [In reply to] Can't Post

I really do like that format

Thor 'n' Oakenshield

Oct 25 2018, 11:28pm

Post #6 of 11 (4559 views)
This is the correct format [In reply to] Can't Post

This is the only format that can do full justice to Lord of the Rings, I have already written many rough drafts of the scripts for a six-film series, I think that if it were ever eventually committed to screen, it would be incredibly epic; it would feature Tom Bombadil (my version does, at any rate), though the Scouring of the Shire is still tricky. The End of the Third Age is the one piece of the series that requires the most changes from text to script, to make it a satisfying film, but my treatment of it makes it pretty epic; though possibly the least like Tolkien's story, and that is what has always bothered me about it. But in this format, more time can be spent on the really important things in the story, characters never before seen on screen make their appearances, and they actually look pretty satisfying. There are the tricky little details, of course, but overall it feels pretty good to me the way I have it. There are additions, and changes, to provide for things such as Arwen needing to be a more fully-fleshed out character (though not at Helm's Deep; rather I have her a character preoccupied with Eriador and its troubles, and thus providing help to the Rangers whenever she can). Elrond, in my version, is more caring towards Aragorn, and Anduril is forged at its proper time in the storyline. Characters whom Tolkien never got a chance to write into the final version of LotR, such as Idis of Rohan, also appear; in my version, she is the overshadowed twin sister of Theodred, daughter of Theoden. Lothiriel also shows up. Not everything is 100% Purist Approved, yet I managed to fit into my script drafts many scenes from the Appendices (Baldor on the Paths of the Dead, the death of Aragorn's father, Gilraen's death, etc), that felt like they flowed well with the rest. Six movies is a lot, and obviously each one has to feel like it has a beginning, middle and end (the problem with Desolation of Smaug is that it really doesn't).
The Return of the Shadow: opens where you would expect, the beginning, with Elrond narrating to Bilbo about the histories of the Second Age, covering the major events up to the time the Ring fell from Isildur's hand. It goes to the Ford of Bruinen, which becomes the major action-scene of that film. Glorfindel is restored to his rightful place.
The Nine Walkers: opens with Aragorn's backstory, and closes at around the same place PJ's version does.
The Treason of Isengard: opens with Theodred's defeat at the Fords of Isen, and closes after Gandalf speaks to Saruman, and a Nazgul passing over Edoras (in the book that happens a day or so later, but it served as a nice harbinger of war to come: I'm still not entirely sure about where the Palantir episode should go.)
The Ring Goes East: opens in Minas Tirith; the Horn of Gondor is heard, and Denethor looks into his Palantir and espies two hobbits "making their escape" across Nen Hithoel, while Boromir lies dying. He also sees the Ring on its chain around Frodo's neck; this inspires his decision to send Faramir out to Ithilien. This film closes at basically the same point as the book.
The War of the Ring: opens with Baldor's ill-fated attempt to enter the Paths of the Dead. Closes after the Battle of the Pelennor Fields is won.
The End of the Third Age: not entirely sure where this one should begin, I had some thoughts but nothing finalized, then closes with Sam's iconic line, with Elanor on his lap and all. I had toyed with the notion of putting the never-finished epilogue as a post-credits scene for this film, but I thought that would be unnecessary.

There's a lot more details, obviously, in between, but I thought I should share; I never thought anyone else would ever come to my same conclusion, that 6 Films is the way to go!

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Oct 26 2018, 2:59am

Post #7 of 11 (4504 views)
Very creative and thorough work [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm impressed by your cinematic approaches to openings, and your understanding that these films would need workable narrative frameworks that the texts don't necessarily have. The Scouring is a problem because it depends on a full treatment of the Shire in the opening of the story, a full five films back from Film 6. We care about the Scouring in Film 6, as the actual climax of the War of the Ring, because we learned to care about the Shire in Film 1. That's even a hard sell in the book, and harder in a film format, harder still in a six- rather than three-film format (where they gave it up as a bad job).

I am curious about your statement that "Characters whom Tolkien never got a chance to write into the final version of LotR, such as Idis of Rohan, also appear." This seems presumptuous. If anyone ever wrote a book exactly as he wanted it, it would be Tolkien writing The Lord of the Rings. He 'got a chance' to include whoever he wanted to include; no one was omitted against his own desire. If you want to add Idis to the story, sure, do so. You're doing it because you're a screenwriter with a good knowledge of Tolkien's early drafts, but you could do it because you thought another female character is needed - much as you do in choosing to enlarge Arwen's presence in ways Tolkien never imagined. I would say, don't pitch your screenplays like you think you are doing Tolkien a favor when you alter his story!

squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Archive: All the TORn Reading Room Book Discussions (including the 1st BotR Discussion!) and Footerama: "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
Dr. Squire introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary

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Thor 'n' Oakenshield

Oct 26 2018, 1:50pm

Post #8 of 11 (4454 views)
The Idis comment [In reply to] Can't Post

I agree totally with what you said about her, and I did word that sentence wrong. I would never ever try to do Tolkien a favor - certainly not! I thought the character of Idis was intriguing, and I wondered why she was eventually cut, but she is obviously a character that Tolkien didn't feel the need to return to, and I'm just adding her in cause I wanted to, and because I thought her character could be a sort of opposite to Eowyn, more submissive to Wormtongue's corruption of her own father because that's the way she was raised, while Eowyn, the daughter of a fierce warrior, has a slightly different lineage, and inherited something of her father's attitude. But yeah, Idis is pretty much solely my invention, as she didn't even get a single line of dialogue in Tolkien's early drafts.As for the Scouring, yes, it is a huge problem onscreen, terribly important to the book but very difficult in a movie. I'm still trying to figure out how (if) one could manage it; I mean, it would also require a lot of abridging, to the point where you wonder; is it even worth it? It's a very long chapter, rich with detail, full of little skirmishes, and after the Battle of the Black Gates it would feel very anticlimactic.Arwen, however, while she has an expanded role in my screenplays, is someone I was very careful with, because I know how some people feel about her role in PJ's version. Thus, I stayed far away from a "Xenarwen" sort of character. I also have her weave the standard of Gondor, which you must admit is something PJ couldn't bring himself to do. I don't have her try to leave Middle-earth. With that said, I do have her guarding (with her sheer presence, not a sword) the company of Gildor Inglorion as they travel west, and she is the one who speaks to Frodo on the hill above Woodhall - somewhat at the expense of Gildor, but he's there too. I then thought that either she should be gone in the morning, as Gildor was in the book, or I should answer a complaint I've read many times before; some say this is a plothole - that Gildor doesn't try to escort the hobbits to Bree, at least. So I thought Arwen could try to lead the hobbits onward, out of the Shire, but Black Riders intervene that morning, and the hobbits get separated from her. Arwen searches for them, but can't find them and doesn't know about the Bucklebury Ferry, so she heads around north, ends up back in Rivendell, which sparks Elrond sending out his great Elf-lords such as Glorfindel to find the hobbits. Both were pretty viable. I would be interested to hear thoughts on some of my other changes, too.

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Oct 26 2018, 4:05pm

Post #9 of 11 (4441 views)
The Scouring is simple [In reply to] Can't Post

You have to frame that entire sixth movie around it. It has to be the fulcrum of the piece.

The solution might be a non-linear approach, flashbacks to key moments between Sam and Frodo in the Shire as they languish in Mordor, beats that reestablish the Shire in the minds of the audience before returning to find it in a ruin.

It could not be abridged in a six-movie format; the only solution is to make it that filmís foundation.

Thor 'n' Oakenshield

Oct 26 2018, 10:44pm

Post #10 of 11 (4386 views)
I'd be intrigued to see how you think that would work [In reply to] Can't Post

I would think that obviously the Shire should be kept continuously in the audience's mind via flashbacks, to show what is at stake. But I don't see how you would make the Scouring the fulcrum of the 6th film - it still would feel anticlimactic compared to the Battle of the Black Gates, Mount Doom, the Fall of Sauron; as the focus of the story, I don't think it would work at all. Then again, if you do have an idea as to how it could work, I'd love to hear it!

"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back. But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy. Now I have taken my worst wound in this parting, even if I were to go this night straight to the Dark Lord."


Nov 2 2018, 7:46pm

Post #11 of 11 (4196 views)
Not as good as twelve. [In reply to] Can't Post

Twenty-four would have been even gooder.

"Begone, foul dwimmerlaik, lord of carrion! Leave the dead in peace!"
"Come not between the Nazgul and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in
thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond
all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled
mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye."
"Do what you will; but I will hinder it, if I may."
"Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!"
"But no living man am I! I am Eowyn, daughter of Theodwyn!"
"Er, really? My mother's name was Theodwyn, too!"
"No way!"
"Wow! Let's stop fighting and be best friends!"

-Zack Snyder's The Return of the King


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